Today's edit/rewrite project was Soldier's Men. This is a strange little tale but I liked the setup a lot. Like several of my stories, it was probably too long and without enough of a punch line, but I didn't see a way to make any major revisions other than to tighten it up and remove excess words and repeat statements. It's shorter now, and hopefully punchier because of that -- but it doesn't really have a great twist ending. Instead, the whole idea is a bit twisted:
"You okay Miss?" Grandpa asked, helping the girl up. "Mars Lasagna" was written across her chest.
"Oh thank Goddess!" she exclaimed. "I was in over my head."
More soldiers appeared. "Now two ruts a humors eh wows Elder Miss No!" one shouted.
"Humorous ruts to you too, buddy," Grandpa replied, leaping forward.
"Thresher got pit!" the soldier commanded.
"I'll thresh you, you nonsense-spewing ninny!" Grandpa ducked a clumsy punch from the creature and slammed its head into the wall.
"He's not talking about threshing," said the girl. "He said: Stop right there."
"He did?" said Grandpa, punching another soldier. "Because it sounded like gibberish. You have information that you're not sharing with the rest of the class?" He smashed the last one into the ground, where it twitched and sparked.
The girl looked away. "It's going to sound ridiculous...."
"I've seen lots of ridiculous in my day," said Grandpa. "Try me."
"They're... creatures out of my imagination," she said. "I've written stories about this place. I never thought I'd be trapped here though."
"It happens," said Grandpa. "Go on."
"Their leader is called Soldier's Men," she said. "All of his followers -- his soldiers -- are named after anagrams of his name. For example, 'Denim Losers' or 'Mindless Ore'. Anagram, see? It uses all the same letters. When they shout something like: Now two ruts a humors eh wows Me No Sliders! what they're actually saying is: Now we must show our worth as Soldiers Men! Only in place of 'Soldiers Men' each uses their own name. They're all basically him, and not him."
"You're sure about this?" Grandpa looked doubtful.
"Trust me," she said. "They speak in anagrams because I imagined them that way. I love anagrams. That's why I named myself Anagram Lass."
Grandpa frowned. "Isn't your name Mars Lasagna?"
"No, " said the girl, "that's an anagram of my name." She smiled. "It's really clever if you think about it."
"Calling yourself Alien Pasta Dish is clever?"
More soldiers stepped into the alley. "Hold that thought," Grandpa said. He jumped forward, pounding and smashing. When he was done, he said, "Look kid, I'll make you a deal. My name's Grandpa Anarchy, and I need a new sidekick. You need rescued. Stick with me and be my sidekick, and I'll get us out of here. Deal?"
The girl nodded. "We need to contact the resistance...."
"Resistance? eh? And why is that, Miss Lasagna?"
I had fun with this story, coming up with the names and phrases that the characters use. After editing it today, I think it's in as good a shape as I can manage to make it. It reads much better, it just lacks a really big-bang ending. But on the whole, I think I accomplished something today. ^_^"They'll know the way out," she said.